Below are a few of Terry Kay's novels. Enjoy the reviews below each cover; click on the cover to purchase from Amazon.com!
The Valley of Light (2004)
From Booklist: Shortly after World War II, returning veteran Noah Locke begins wandering the South, looking for something. Noah is illiterate and, frankly, not very intelligent. But he's good-natured and knows how to talk to people. He is also a mystically gifted fisherman, capable of catching strings of catfish in ponds others swear have long been dry. When an old man tells him about a town known as the Valley of Light and its annual fishing contest, Noah decides to visit. Once there, Noah quickly becomes part of the small town's life and secrets. He is especially drawn to a young widow whose husband may or may not have killed himself after returning from World War II. The townsfolk are universally kind to Noah--which, unfortunately, leaves the book without much dramatic tension. When tragedy strikes the town, Noah is inspired to head back to his hometown and reconnect with his jailed brother. A supernatural moment at the end of the novel reveals a perhaps divine plot behind Noah's travels. The book is full of biblical allusions, some of which are somewhat hard to unravel. But it is a nice, calm read, perfect for a day spent fishing, and fans of the author's previous best-sellers, Shadow Song (1994) and To Dance with the White Dog (1990), will appreciate it. Marta Segal Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Taking Lottie Home (2000)
From Publishers Weekly: Set in Georgia at the beginning of the 20th century, this latest novel by the popular author of Shadow Song is an evocative, atmospheric and elegiac story of an uncommon woman and the three men she loves. Lottie Augusta Barton, "angel of the lonesome," is born in a tumbledown river house in Augusta. To escape from her troubled family, she takes to the road in 1904 with a traveling salesman. On the train, she meets Ben Phelps and Foster Lanier, baseball players just cut from the Augusta Hornets. Ben, nearly as sweet-natured as Lottie, is on his way home to a good job in a dry-goods store in his home town of Jericho. Foster, drunk and down on his luck, takes up with Lottie and they both join a traveling carnival. To Ben's surprise, when the carnival comes to Jericho, Foster's strange generosity sets Ben up as a local hero in a carny baseball game, and almost kindles romance between Ben and Lottie. Several years later, when Ben is engaged to his boss Arthur Ledford's daughter, Sally, he hears from Lottie; she and Foster married and have a son, called Little Ben, but Foster is dying and would like to see Ben again. Ben goes to Kentucky, and ends up bringing Lottie and her son to stay in his mother's house for a time, when both fall ill. The townspeople flutter around Lottie, whose radiant, serene presence draws them to her like moths to a gentle flame. A local lowlife attempts to blackmail Lottie with her carnival past, but Arthur Ledford, who's come to love Lottie, rescues her. Ben takes her home to Augusta; then he returns to Jericho, marries Sally and never sees Lottie again. Little Ben comes back, though, and in an epilogue, his daughter, the story's off-screen narrator, adds a poignant twist to the narrative. Though slow at the outset, this affecting novel glows with warmth and sincerity, and manifests Kay's customary ability to pull at the heartstrings. 6-city author tour.
Special Kay: The Wisdom of Terry Kay (2000)
From Amazon: Terry Kay is one of the South's most loved, widely acclaimed, and successful writers. Most know Kay for his bestselling novels and their star-studded movie adaptations; often his readers are not aware of the astute and humorous social critic resting behind the novelist's veil. Special Kay reveals the essayist, critic, and humorist who has written for a wide array of newspapers and magazines for years. From "The Strange Dance of the White Dog" (the essay that lead to the now-famous novel translated around the world, a bestseller in Japan) to "I was a Teenage Quarterback" and other essays, this collection proves that Kay's sense of power in words can be seen not only in his fiction but in his nonfiction as well.
The Kidnapping of Aaron Greene (1999)
From Library Journal: Smooth storyteller Kay (To Dance with the White Dog, Peachtree, 1990) creates a rich assortment of Southern eccentrics in this complex suspense thriller. His satirical jabs at radio talk show hosts, investigative journalists, and highly paid litigators are as satisfying as the nonstop action. A very ordinary Atlanta mail boy is abducted by a high-tech cult that demands $10 million from his employer, a corruptly managed bank, in exchange for his life. When the bank refuses to pay up, private philanthropists go into high gear to raise the money, and among them is the kidnapper. The scene in which the victim unwittingly attends a fundraising party for himself and works as a valet for celebrities is a masterpiece of ironic humor. At the end we're not quite sure why it all happened, but it doesn't matter. For upscale suspense readers in all public libraries. Joyce W. Smothers, Monmouth Cty. Lib., Manalapan, NJ Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The Runaway (1997)
From Library Journal: The authenticity of Kay's characters is brought home skillfully by reader Dick Hill, who brilliantly renders the Southern voice in all its diversity: rich and poor, black and white, male and female, friendly and hateful. Kay's novel describes a rural Georgia community in the years following World War II facing the beginnings of change in racial assumptions and attitudes. The discovery of a human bone by two 12-year-old boys (one black, one white) on a Huck Finn-inspired runaway initiates the investigation of three old murders of local black men by a racially motivated killer known ominously as Pegleg. Attitudes developed from war-time experiences mitigate somewhat against traditional racial sentiments, what a character in the novel calls "the law of the way things are." This work is scheduled to be a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation in 1998. Highly recommended for all fiction collections. Kristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, Iowa. Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Shadow Song (1995)
From Booklist: The immensely gifted author of the best-selling To Dance with the White Dog (1990) demonstrates his narrative versatility by offering a rare and wonderful love story. When Bobo Murphy, a middle-aged artist of moderate success and talent, revisits the Catskill Mountains to bury an elderly friend, he is haunted by memories of the magical summer he spent working as a waiter at the posh Pine Hill Inn. During the course of that idyllic sojourn, 17-year-old Bobo, a callow Southern youth who had seldom ventured far beyond the gentle red hills of Georgia, unexpectedly forged a powerful and enduring bond with Avrum Feldman, a cranky, insightful retired furrier from New York who had devoted his entire adult life to the unrequited worship of a renowned opera singer. In addition, Bobo had also found and lost the one great love of his life, wealthy and breathtakingly beautiful Amy Lourie, the pampered only child of protective Jewish parents. As the past and the present seem to coalesce, Avrum's death and Amy's sudden reappearance force Bobo to reevaluate the wisdom of his self-imposed compromises and to relearn the mystical life lessons taught to him by his extraordinary mentor. An absolutely enchanted and lyrical testimonial to the indomitable spirit of friendship and the tenacity of true love. Margaret Flanagan
To Whom the Angel Spoke: A Story of the Christmas (1991)
From Amazon: THIS POWERFUL LITTLE book celebrates the unifying power of Christmas. To Whom the Angel Spoke is the story of three men--shepherds--who were as different as men can be. Yet, one night, those men heard a voice, and because they believed what the voice told them about the birth of Jesus, they were alike. In author Terry Kay's moving story, the unifying power of simple belief touches the hearts of everyone, and reminds us that, for different people with different feelings, there is a celebration that brings us all together.
To Dance With the White Dog (1990)
From Amazon: Sam Peek’s children are worried. Since that “saddest day” when Cora, his beloved wife of fifty-seven good years, died, no one knows how he will survive. How can this elderly man live alone on his farm? How can he keep driving his dilapidated truck down to the fields to care for his few rows of pecan trees? And when Sam begins telling his children about a dog as white as the pure driven snow—that seems invisible to everyone but him—his children think that grief and old age have finally taken their toll. But whether the dog is real or not, Same Peek—“one of the smartest men in the South when it comes to trees”—outsmarts them all. Sam and the White Dog will dance from the pages of this bittersweet novel and into your heart, as they share the mystery of life, and begin together a warm and moving final rite of passage.
The Year the Lights Came On (1976)
From the back-cover: The Year the Lights Came On is Terry Kay's evocative tale of Colin Wynn, an eleven-year-old boy growing up in rural northeast Georgia. The year is 1947, and in Colin's hometown of Emery, Route 17 divides the community into the haves and have-nots--those with and without electricity. But then the Rural Electrification Administration brings electricity to the homes of the less privileged and Colin boasts that the wires will "knit us into the fabric of the huge glittering costume, Earth." With characters ranging from Reverend Bartholomew R. Bytheway, a reformed fertilizer salesman who operates the Speaking-In-Tongues Traveling Tent Tabernacle, to Freeman, a Georgian Huck Finn who knows the swamps as well as the other boys know their backyards. Terry Kay draws a marvelously nuanced portrait of the rural South poised on the brink of change.